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Drama hospital strains due to Covid-patients influx, Health Minister blames the locals

The hospital in Drama, north Greece, is suffocating: Covid-19 beds exceed half of the hospital capacity, admissions keep growing. However, for Health Minister Vasislis Kikilias, the problem does not lie in the hospital itself but in the city that has a lot of infections.

The hospital is suffocating, the staff is fighting to “hold the region upright,” the director of Drama General Hospital, Niki Karatzoglou said on Friday.

Speaking about the dramatic situation, she said that Covid-19 beds currently exceeded 50% of the total capacity, 136 patients are currently being treated in the hospital’s three Covid-19 clinics that have a total of 140 beds. The total capacity of the hospital is 256 beds, she added.

She did not hide her concern over the increased number of cases in the region, underlining that “despite the general quarantine, there is still a growing momentum in the number of admissions.”

Katatzoglou revealed that 60 Covid-19 patients have died in the hospital so far, and that a total of 536 people infected withe the virus have been admitted and treated. She appealed at the local population to observe the protection measures and stay at home.

Doctors and ambulance staff are calling on the country’s health authorities to strengthen the hospital with personnel and necessary equipment so that they continue to deal with the pandemic.

Speaking to Skai TV, the president of workers at Drama hospital Ioannis Papadopoulos said that one in four residents in the regional unit with a population of 100,000 was positive to Covid-19 and the epidemiological load in the area was particularly high.

He underlined that some hiring of auxiliary staff was recently made, however, that 25 doctors and 80 nurses are ill with the virus.

“What is a cause of concern is that hospitalizations do not decrease, beds immediately get occupied again the moment there is a discharge.

Also the Medcial Association of Drama spoke of a situation on the verge of collapsing.

Three Covid-patients were airlifted to Athens on Thursday, another three were intubated outside ICU later at night and were standby for transfer either to neighboring regional units or to Athens, ERT reported. One of the airlifted patients died, ERT reported Friday afternoon.

According to the state broadcaster, 1,822 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in November alone.

The appeals by the hospital doctors and staff have fallen deaf ears.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said, though, “there is nothing wrong with the hospital but with the city of Drama, the whole regional unit has problem and is under pressure due to the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to Open TV on Friday morning, he said complacently that the hospital in Drama had three ICU beds and it now has 12, it has sufficient nursing staff and everyone is making a huge effort.”

“I will not let anyone disturb the hospital and the battle of the people of Drama.”

“We are speaking of a global pandemic, each city will support the other and the national health system is standing. We are dealing with the problems,” he claimed. He reiterated the government narrative of “personal responsibility” saying “we should ask ourselves for one more time, how we dealt with the hygiene rules and the protocols in the last 1-2 months in order to reach this stage in Drama.”

Note that some 20 Covid-19 patients had to be transferred to the hospital in Kavala, the neighboring regional unit that has also declared that they were full.

PS Apparently, the Health Minister and the New Democracy government thinks that if the citizens got infected on their own “responsibility” they deserve to die without medical assistance?

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